Sunday, June 27, 2010

If you've seen Pedro Almodóvar's recent film Broken Embraces, you may have noticed the amazing landforms of Lanzarote's vineyards. The vineyards are located in and around the Denominación de Origen wine region of Lanzarote known as La Gería. The striking feature of these vineyards is their traditional method of "protected" cultivation. Single vines are planted in pits with small stone walls surrounding each pit. The accumulated pits create a desolate moonscape hybridized with what looks like a larval population of grapevines, all of them shockingly green against the dead grey of Lanzarote's volcanic earth. The agricultural technique is unique to La Gería, designed to protect the vines from Lanzarote's constant wind and to collect rainfall and overnight dew. However the visual effect gives it even more singularity and a much stronger sense of otherness.

This sensibility is adeptly captured in Almodóvar's film, precisely at a moment when its plot takes a decisive and fatalistic turn, one which requires a beautiful and foreboding landscape to equal the characters' dangerous romance. The intertwining of these two elements, land form and narrative form, subsequently serves to amplify the sensation of discomfort while swallowing us in the lushness of things that we want to love but know that we should not: bleak landscapes, adulterated love. Surely, Almodóvar selected this place for precisely this kind of isolation.

Of course, this makes me curious about which places he overlooked before settling on the vineyards of La Gería - a question that might never be answered. Still, Lanzarote has certainly been added my list of desired (albeit other-worldly) destinations.

Photo Credit: u_did


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